Senior Fatah figure Marwan Barghouti has called for the Palestinians to hold presidential and legislative elections, and for an end to the “disastrous” split in Palestinian society, Quds Press reported on Wednesday. Barghouti is currently serving a number of concurrent life sentences in an Israeli prison, but remains a hugely influential and important figure in Palestinian politics.
In a letter sent to his wife Fadwa, the veteran activist reiterated the importance of “joint national action under the PLO, Palestinian Authority and government.” He called for dates to be set for the elections, as well as for an election for members of the Palestinian National Council.
“The lack of elections for 20 years makes the Palestinians live in a dangerous political vacuum,” he explained. Moreover, the disharmony among the Arab countries, he pointed out, has harmed Palestinian unity and undermined the ability to fight the “brutal Israeli occupation”.
Barghouti said that Israel is working to increase the number of illegal settlements in the occupied territories. It is working to have a million settlers in place by 2030. There are currently around 600,000 illegal settlers. All settlers and settlements are illegal under international law.
As such, said Barghouti, Israeli policies are not intended to give any opportunity for the creation of an independent, viable and sovereign Palestinian state. “The rise of the extremist religious parties in Israel,” he added, “ushers in increasing racism within the occupation state that could lead to the expulsion of the Palestinians.”